Stare Down or Hide: The Lowdown of Your Dog's #2 Habits

September 14, 2017 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Canine pooping habits

**Updated 9/14/2017**

You're on a walk with your pooch, you stumble upon a nice park and decide to explore a little. Afore mentions pooch decides, once you arrive, that he needs to take a break to take care of some "business." He starts sniffing around, finds a place he likes, takes a crouching position, and starts staring at you. As a dog owner, you have probably experienced the intimate eye lock of your dog as he poops. With that, you have probably wondered in those moments, "Why is he staring at me right now? That is scenario number one.

Scenario number two is much the same. The Same walk in the park, your pooch gets the same urge to poop. But instead of stopping to drop trout anywhere, he makes a beeline to the nearest bush, tree or corner to do his business hoping no one, especially you, will see.

So why does dog one give you the stare, while dog two won't let you see him take a douce?

There is an answer to both examples.

Understanding the Stare

You know you're a family when your dog gives you the "I'm pooping" stare. Primarily, through the stare, your dog is communicating that he trusts you to protect him as part of your "pack." Although this intimate moment may seem awkward at times for you, know that this is your dog's way of placing his life in your hands.

Fight or Flee

Normally, a dog is prepared to fight or to flee. When he is defecating, he doesn't have the option to do either. He is incredibly vulnerable during these times, and your dog understands this. Hence, the stare. In these moments, your dog relies on you to warn him through body language that he is in danger. He also needs to know that you will defend him if needed. By you scanning your surroundings as he defecates, you put your dog at ease in his moment of vulnerability.

Hide and Go Poop

Although we can't come over and interview Rover to see what's going through his mind while he ducks behind the couch or a bush to drop a steamy pile of poo, we do know there are certain things about canine behavior that we can measure and track. Let's take an educated guess and explain a few of the reasons your dog might be hiding out to pee and poop.

1. Instinct

Dogs tend to like to eliminate away from where they eat and sleep—which is pretty smart. They may be moving into your bedroom or the hallway to get away from their bowl or bed. When you're house training, this is a good time to utilize the crate. Keep your dog in a crate while they're unsupervised, then take them directly outside before playing in the house to give them a chance to go. This accomplishes their goal of going away from their sleeping and eating area and your goal of keeping poop out of the house.

2. Fear

Have you followed some of the old rules of house training that dictated scolding and even swatting your puppy for accidents inside? You're not the only one who has gotten bad training advice before, but you may have inadvertently caused your sneaky pooper. If a dog is afraid to go around you because of past experiences, this fear may extend to going outside while you walk around waiting for her to do her business. This can lead to plenty of hidden accidents—your dog doesn't want to invite another unpleasant experience with you. Stop scolding your dog and start giving your dog more space to eliminate when you take him outside.

3. Discomfort

Maybe you weren't a swatter when your puppy had inside accidents, but you couldn't hold in a frustrated growl or a yelp of surprise when you found a new spot of pee next to your bed. Your dog may be sensitive enough to know you're angry even without any punishment, and as a result, is instinctively hiding. Try to remain calm when you notice your dog showing the signs of needing to go: no need to jump up like there's a fire and start shouting. When an accident occurs, try your best to remain neutral in your tone of voice and expression. Start taking your dog outside more often than ever before to demonstrate that it's okay to go around you, but that he should always go outside. Your pup will learn. Eventually, we promise.

Now You Know Your Dog's *Stuff*

Whether your dog is a stare down the pooper or the great Houdini pooper, you now have some reasoning as to what is going through your canine's mind.

As always, if you have any questions about your dog's behavior or health, contact us today.

Topics: Pet Care

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.